Dear Lord, Give me My Daily Baguette

It was Sunday morning, the morning after Daylight Savings Time, and I was sitting in the middle of Panera with my grande, hazelnut brew in my hands and my Bible open before me. Sitting in somewhat of a comatose state because not only had the brew not hit my blood stream, but also because Daylight Savings Time is just awful–ABSOLUTELY AWFUL.

Awful because Benjamin Franklin, jokingly suggested, that people wake up earlier in order to save on candles. UNBELIEVABLE. I can attribute my copious, caffeine consumption, my shortened fuse, my extra puffy eyes, my extra darker circles, and my children awake at the butt-crack of dawn to a joke about saving wax?!??! SERIOUSLY?!?! All over the world, mamas simultaneously curse Franklin from their beds and yet soberly remember that the man did invent electricity, which kindly fuels our Keurigs and hair dryers. Thank you, Benjamin, and yet…could you not have joked?!

I digress.

Anyway, I was sitting there with the Word open before me, feeling not only overwhelmed by my physical exhaustion, but also a tad consumed with the tasks and changes before me. My week was busy; my planner was full; and I was wondering how it was all going to get done. One child was being extra whiny for the past few days; one child was extra selfish as of late; and one mama was a little irritable and a lot tired. And on top of it, sitting there with this looming recognition that at any point, we could be called to parent another child–a child in crisis and in need of a home.

This sister was tired before the week even started. 

Thumbing my way to the next portion of Scripture I would be studying that morning, I found “Psalm 36:5-12” typed across the page. Rifling through those paper-thin pages of the best book ever written, I found my starting point and began reading.

Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals. How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. 

And do you know what stood out to me? The very thing that caught my heart’s attention?

The possession of the provision!

Say what?

They [His people] will feast on the abundance of YOUR house; you give them drink from YOUR river of delights...

Whose abundance do we feast on? Whose river do we drink from?

YOUR house and YOUR river.

HIS.

And as quickly as the Lord pointed out the possession of the provision, my mind was drawn to the Lord’s prayer in Matthew.

Give us this day, our daily bread…

Immediately, my heart felt a wave of peace and thoughts of truth came pouring forth from the Spirit who dwells within my feeble frame.

[Jessica, it is from His abundant house that you will feast; it is from His river that you will drink, and He will give provide it daily…as you need. You don’t have to conjure up the provision and you don’t have to supply the abundance because HE’S GOT IT.  You don’t have to “plan enough” or “be enough” or “feel enough” because HE’S ENOUGH. The provision is from Him and through Him–not from my house and not from my river.]

And as I sat and thought about the way that He faithfully delights to preserve and provide for His people (the ones who take refuge in Him and acknowledge their inability to satiate their own hunger and their own thirst), I had this thought about the types of “bread” He provides for His people.

Now this might be a little weird, but track with me; I shared it with a girlfriend and she seemed to follow but then again, she might have been politely nodding. Who knows?!

Anyway…

I had this thought that maybe, just maybe, His “daily bread” isn’t the same every day. Maybe His “daily bread” is in accordance with my need, which changes from day to day and season to season. Maybe His “daily bread” meets my hunger and thirst right where they are, matching the deficits I bring to each day and each task. Like maybe His “daily bread” looks like a CROUTON some days. And maybe His “daily bread” looks like a SLICE on others. And maybe His “daily bread” looks like a BAGUETTE sometimes. And maybe, just maybe… His “daily bread” looks like a GIANT LOAF OF SOURDOUGH?!?!?!

And as I sat there in the middle of Panera, surrounded by all types of artisan breads, I marveled at the many forms of His gracious provision for me–the “daily bread” that tumbles from His house, and gurgles from His river, and meets me in the middle of my needy hunger and dependent thirst. 

And much like the psalmist who penned these words, I found myself uttering the words from verse seven, “How priceless is your unfailing love!”

HOW PRICELESS IS YOUR UNFAILING PROVISION OF DAILY BREAD!!!

Because no matter what my needs are today, or tomorrow, or the day after next, I can be confident that when I choose to rest in the possession of His provision, I will lack NO crouton, no slice, no baguette, and no loaf. EVER. 

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31 Giggles

Life is just too short, and too hard, and too serious, and too many other complicated, adult-like things to stifle the giggles and hold in the laughs.

Can I get an, “Amen?!?!”

So in an attempt to bring a smile to your face and maybe even conjure up a belly laugh or six, I thought I would share some of our recent “kid funnies.” Because seriously, laughing and smiling is just good for the soul.

  1. “Mommy, when I get older, I am going to have a wife, but I’m going to make her sleep in a different room because I am going to sleep with 50 blankets and won’t have room for her.” -Caden
  2. “Mommy got me ‘Sleeping Boobie.’ Mommy has ‘two boobies’ under her shirt.” -Evie
  3. “I not go to Caden’s school when I get big. I go to a pink school.” -Evie
  4. “Daddy got us ‘tinkies!’ No. Daddy got us ‘winkies!’ No. Daddy got us Twinkies!!!” -Evie
  5. “Mommy, do you sleep every chance you get?” -Caden
  6. “Mommy, I want the socks with the ‘poo-ka doots.'” -Evie’s version of “polka dots”
  7. While putting on his undies: “Sometimes my mouse just sneaks out of his house and tries to take a walk.” -Caden
  8. “Sometimes I look at kids at school and they have crusty things on their lips and on their eyes, but I don’t tell them how gross it looks.” -Caden
  9. Talking about heaven: “We gonna get new bodies when we get there!!!” -Evie
  10. Upon walking into the room and finding him with his eyes closed and breathing in and out: “Oh. Don’t mind me. I’m just breathing in and out and letting out my frustrations.” -Caden
  11. On Daddy’s birthday: “Happy Birthday to me and you and us!” -Evie
  12. “Mommy, I not say ‘butt.’ That’s not appropriate. Right? I not say ‘butt-butt!’ No saying ‘butt.’ Right?” -Evie
  13. Upon exiting the bathroom and standing in line at Piada in front of four men, standing ready to cook our food: “Mommy, my ‘pagina’ hurts sooooo bad.” Attempting to push it off, I respond, “You’re so excited to eat at Piada?!?!” Saying it even louder and grabbing herself: “NOOOO!!! I said, ‘My pagina hurts!!!” -Evie
  14. “Mommy, when you get kiss Daddy, my stomach hurts.” -Caden
  15. In the middle of family pictures: “I really hate pictures, so can I just get all my pictures first and be done with it?” -Caden
  16. “I get so tired of trying to come up with ideas for Evie to do when she just shoots them out of the sky.” -Caden
  17. “Mommy, that poopie looks like a bunch of turtles!” -Evie
  18. “Mommy, you don’t change in your room. You’re supposed to change in the bathroom near the toilet.” -Caden
  19. “Do I have to keep going to school for the rest of my life? Can’t I just skip to the last grade? This is exhausting!” -Caden
  20. “I don’t need you to wipe me. I just went poopie. It’s okay. I’m fine.” -Evie
  21. “Mommy!!!! Since I went to Kindergarten, I’m getting hair in weird places!” -Caden
  22. “I so frustrated!!! I don’t know any sight words!!!” -Evie
  23. “I wish I had never gotten an alarm for Christmas. It makes me so tired and scared!” -Caden
  24. “I don’t like when you wear glasses. You just look weird.” -Caden
  25. “How many times do I have to tell you, Evie?!?! It’s like you don’t even have ears to listen!” -Caden
  26. “Dear God, thank you that Mommy works so that we can eat.” -Caden
  27. After a run: “I am a righteous man! Hallelujah!!!”-Caden
  28. While in Target near the lingerie section: “Mommy!!! Look at the black boobies!!!” -Evie
  29. “Mommy, I have no clue what Daddy made for dinner last night. It was just weird but it tasted okay.”
  30. “Sometimes at night when I can’t sleep, I just pull up my shirt and make circles around my nipples.” -Caden
  31. “I could barely sleep last night in the tent because I was so worried about Evie needing to poop in the middle of the night.” -Caden

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Swiss Chard, Lent, and the Sunday My Son Lost His Mind

I grew up in a Baptist church, and we never talked about Lent (at least if they did, I never heard about it). To me, Lent was kind of like Swiss Chard growing up. It was a real thing; it was mysterious; people partook of it; and yet I had no clue about either. And to be honest, though I’m more familiar with the practices of Lent and the lettuce called Swiss Chard, I’m still learning and growing in my knowledge of both.

I can’t say that I’ve yet to buy a book on Swiss Chard (there is actually a real book on Amazon ALL about Swiss Chard. I do not tell a lie. Google it for yourself; it’s real. I just did), but I did buy a book at the beginning of February on Lent–its history, its purpose, and practical ways to implement fasting, prayer, and alms-giving. It was good–so good. I won’t and don’t have the time to block quote his entire book, but Aaron Damiani in his book, The Good of Giving Up, did an absolutely stupendous job of outlining beautiful reasons why believers (in all denominations) can practice this beautiful journey to the cross.

Designated in the church calendar to be the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday, Lent is a season where we create “wilderness experiences” for our hearts and souls, so that we can help ready our souls to embrace the beauty of the Resurrection.  Lent is a season where we carve out extra time to boost our prayer lives, strengthen our generosity (in all forms), and fast from the things that take our time, attention, and energy. Lent can be practiced and implemented in all kinds of ways and to all kinds of degrees; Lent is PERSONAL. Lent is not meant to be worshiped; it’s not meant to earn God’s favor; it’s not meant to trim our waistlines; it’s not meant to twist God’s arm into acting how we want Him to act; and it’s certainly not meant to make us “holier than thou.” From my perspective, the sole purpose of Lent is a set-aside time where we can deliberately focus our hearts on the cross and ALL that it means for our lives.

So…after reading the book in the month of February and then praying through the areas in my life that need both a “fast” and some “reinforcements,” I decided that we would broach the subjects with the kids.

Leisurely and spontaneously, I introduced the topic at Sunday lunch. Giving a short explanation for Lent (what it is, why we do it, and how we can practice it), I then shared the ways that I had planned to observe Lent in 2017 and then Daddy shared too.

I explained that in my “fast,” I would be saying “goodbye” to Facebook, Amazon shopping, and “bored snacking” in between meals. I shared how FB, Amazon, and “bored snacking” can take away time and attention from God, and how they can bring a joy that can easily become an idol. I also explained the ways that I felt like God was leading me to be more generous, specifically in areas related to my time (hosting, phone calls instead of texts, notes instead of emails…). And lastly, I shared the ways that I had planned to spent some extra time in prayer and study of God’s Word.

Things were going fabulously.

But then I said, “Soooooo, I was thinking that maybe we could start helping you guys practice Lent.”

Everyone was still in their right minds.

“And I was thinking that one of the things that you guys really love is your TV shows.”

Weird faces started happening.

“Aaaannnndddd…I was thinking that maybe in order to create some more space for God, we would decrease the number of shows we watch and instead…spend a couple of evenings a week, watching the What’s in the Bible with Buck Denver DVDs as a family.”

And then my son just LOST it. 

Like heaping, huge, ginormo alligator tears, he started wailing. Not even kidding.

“NOOOOOOOOO. I love my shows!!! That’s not fair!!! I don’t like it!!!”

I can’t remember all his protests and honestly, I couldn’t even hear most of them through the sobs, but suffice to say…BOY WAS “MIFFED-MAD” (I just coined that term, which is exactly why you’ve probably never heard of it before. NBD.).

Again, I reminded him that we weren’t suggesting that “we take away ALL of the shows” but rather decrease the amount of time spent watching the shows they are allotted, so that we could create some extra time to spend as a family–focusing on Easter, the Word, and other activities that promote generosity.

That seemed to bring some reassurance.

“So we can still watch some of our shows?”

“Yes, you can still watch some.”

“Okay. We can do that.”

(younger sister sat in silence watching the whole drama unfold)

Clearly, we had struck an idol nerve. Clearly, we had pounced on something that means a lot to him. Clearly, we had identified an area that he holds dear. And my, oh my, did I ever understand!

No FB posts for 40 days? No “likes” that bring happy pick-me-ups throughout the day?

No quick shopping on Amazon? No scarves and books and dumb junk that brings an easy thrill?

No snacks? No Doritos? No popcorn? No opportunities to stuff feelings and provide an easy, mind-numbing, night-time activity?

YYYYYYYIIIIIIIKKKKKEEESSS!!!

Think about taking stuff away, and it doesn’t take long to realize the things we value, love, and even worship. 

Fast forward to today, two days after we leaked the idea of Lent.

“Mommy, when does Lent start?”

“It actually starts tomorrow.”

“Oh. Okay. I was just wondering.”

He didn’t sound angry, wasn’t presenting hysterical, and didn’t appear to be ready to jump off the TV ledge; he simply sounded interested.

Having no clue how he would respond but wanting to know what he had gathered from our lunch discussion on Sunday, I asked, “So, what is Lent all about?”

Without missing a beat, he said, “Lent helps us make extra space so we can worship God.”

A smile the size of Mississippi spread across my face.

“You’re right, buddy. You’re exactly right.”

I have no clue what Lent 2017 has in store for the Buczek family, but I am eager to see how God is going to use our “extra space” to bring us into deeper relationship with Him. At the end of the 40 days, I pray that we would look more like Him and less like us and that Lord willing, we won’t lose our minds every single day for 40 days!

 

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22 Reasons Why You Should Praise Jesus for Your Daddy

  1. Because post-nursing, your daddy is your only hope for being heard in the middle of the night. Your cries, your poops, your lost stuffed animals…he hears it all while your mommy is complete G-O-N-E (those nursing days ZAPPED me for the next 18…or at least until you start crawling out the window).
  2. Because if your daddy didn’t monitor our budget and monies, we would be living in a teepee in your grandparents’ back yard because either we spent it all at Chipotle or we bought the whole world a set of books.
  3. Because if your daddy didn’t set up a monthly reminder to change the Brita filters, we would all be under the treatment of a physician for mold.
  4. Because if your daddy didn’t set up a monthly reminder to change the furnace filter, there’s a good chance our house would catch fire at some point or another.
  5. Because if your daddy didn’t monitor the toothpaste tube, you would never know what a tube of toothpaste is supposed to look like, nor would you be able to pry off that dried-up, gunk of a lid.
  6. Because without your daddy, there’s a good chance that you would only be able to count to 10 and addition and subtraction would be out of the question, never mind multiplication and division.
  7. Because without your daddy successfully hiding a key in the yard, we would be locked out of the house…like your whole life.
  8. Because without your daddy, you would either never have a hair cut, or we would have already dropped approximately $840.00 in the last five years to have Great Clips do it.
  9. Because without your daddy, we would probably be lost on some mountain because we didn’t take the time to read a map, don’t know how to read a map , thought we could just “figure it out.”
  10. Because without your daddy, we would still be stuck in Wal-Mart counseling some random soul who your mommy does not know but because she said “hello” and smiled, she has now heard a life map and two, life trajedies.
  11. Because without your daddy, Doritos would be a food group.
  12. Because without your daddy, none of us would remember to take vitamins and all our bones would be breaking.
  13. Because without your daddy, the IRS would have already put me in jail because I’d have absolutely NO clue what to “claim.”
  14. Because without your daddy, there is a good chance that you might be getting your own breakfast in the morning while I hit “snooze” for the 12th time.
  15. Because without daddy, there would be nothing ALIVE and THRIVING in our yard, except dandelions.
  16. Because with your daddy, there would be no functioning smoke alarms, no LED bulbs, and we would be using copious amounts of water to take daily baths…just for fun.
  17. Because without your daddy, we would have no functional cars because I’m SURE that your mommy would not remember the mileage for the next oil change.
  18. Because without daddy, there would be no home-made pretzels, no biscuits, no bread, and no pizza. And forget the grilled meat that you guys love, I’d light myself on fire and our house if #4 hadn’t already occurred.
  19. Because without your daddy, the fruit of “self-control” might be a foreign concept for ya’ll.
  20. Because without your daddy, organized trips where you have room to sit in the car WITH your luggage…would just NOT happen.
  21. Because without your daddy, we would all be throwing a tantrum on the floor and worrying about our obsessions.
  22. Because without your daddy, life would be incredibly unbalanced, potentially unhealthy, and absolutely less safe, peaceful, and thriving.

Kids, you are so blessed; WE are SO blessed. Your daddy is one of our greatest gifts and though I could continue on and on…and on and on…with this list, suffice to say that God was good and kind to give us a daddy like ours. Lord knows we need him!

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Because Sometimes Deluxe Mac-n-Cheese

I am not going to diminish (not even for a second) how absolutely important it is to cling to the Gospel during the trenches of parenthood. I’m not. I couldn’t. I don’t want to.

And let me also say that there are days where you pick up your kids and drive straight to the store to buy Deluxe, Four-Cheese Mac-n-Cheese.

There is hope; there is faith; there is love; there is theology; there is prayer; and there is also Deluxe, Four-Cheese Mac-n-Cheese

And just in case you aren’t sure what Deluxe Four-Cheese Mac-n-Cheese is, let me just say that it is pasta in a cardboard accompanied with cheese in a foil packet. And I’m not sure what is in that foil packet, and honestly I don’t really care, but it’s golden…delicious…and a lifeline on Thursday afternoons when your mom tank is running on fumes.

Because sometimes Deluxe Mac-n-cheese is what you need after nights when your children wake up screaming at 4:30 AM because your child can’t find their pillow, which they are laying on top of.

Because sometimes Deluxe Mac-n-cheese is what you need when your child is laying on the floor (screaming) because they just picked off their fingernail polish and now they’re upset that it is gone. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

Because sometimes Deluxe Mac-n-cheese is what you need when your child is sobbing elephant tears in the middle of Meijer because you won’t buy every single product on the Valentine shelf to assist them in making hand-crafted Valentines for every single one of their classmates.

Because sometimes Deluxe Mac-n-cheese is what you need when your child drops a plate of dip onto the carpet.

Because sometimes Deluxe Mac-n-cheese is what you need when you realize that the laundry basket is almost full, and you just washed clothes less than 48 hours ago.

Because sometimes Deluxe Mac-n-cheese is what you need when your child gets a hold of the “poop spray” and sprays down the entire bathroom…like until the floor rugs are wet.

Because sometimes Deluxe Mac-n-cheese is what you need when your child brings home ANOTHER school fundraiser (why do we pay taxes?!?!?).

Because sometimes Deluxe Mac-n-cheese is what you need when your children are karate-chopping each other in the middle of the parking lot.

Because sometimes Deluxe Mac-n-cheese is what you need when your child is hysterical because you threw out a crumpled piece of paper that was their lab experiment from last week.

Because sometimes Deluxe Mac-n-cheese is what you need when your child falls off the toilet while their pooping.

Because sometimes Deluxe Mac-n-cheese is what you need when your two year-old has more ‘TUDE than a trailer full of tweens.

Because sometimes Deluxe Mac-n-cheese is what you need when ALL those things happen and you’ve also experienced 12, consecutive days of rain, gray, and inside days.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Because sometimes we need Jesus, the hope of change, a boatload of grace, and a bowl full of Deluxe Mac-n-cheese for our weary hearts and fried brains.

Please, please, PLEASE… do yourself a favor and stock your cupboard with a few emergency boxes. Trust me, you’ll never regret it. NEVER. EVER. You’re welcome.

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My Kids Don’t Need the Mom Down the Street

It’s so easy to turn our heads to the right and left and observe all the strengths and skills of the moms beside and around us–doubting our uniqueness and questioning God’s placement of these souls in our home.

She’s a better multi-tasker than I am.

She does a better job shepherding her children, finding godly curriculum to teach their souls.  

How does she make time for two Bible studies, swimming lessons, book club, and dance classes?!?

She’s a better and more balanced cook than I am. 

She’s more intentional and engaged than I am. 

She is more attuned to her kids’ emotional needs than I am. 

Her house is always clean!

She is WAY more disciplined than I am, providing healthy structure and routine. 

She’s more fun and more spontaneous.

She’s more creative and more sensitive. 

She’s a better listener and more gracious. 

She’s more patient and better at getting to the heart of discipline. 

She is so good at being “okay” with the chaos. 

She works and she manages to do Pinterest projects with the kids?!

On and on it goes.

She’s just MORE than me. 

But you know what I’m realizing?

I’m realizing that God blessed me with these kiddos not because He thinks I’m the best, but because He has BIG PLANS for how He’s going to use ME in their lives and THEM in mine. 

He wants to use my skill sets and my strengths.

He wants to employ my gifts and enhance my experiences.

He wants to grow my weaknesses and fortify my blind spots.

He wants to deepen my trust and increase my neediness.

He wants to shape US through each OTHER…in His strengths, in His timing, and according to His perfect plan.

He didn’t make a “heavenly oops” by sending my kids to me and your kids to you.

Nope.

Not at all.

He didn’t fall off His throne or mistakenly send them to the wrong womb or an accidental address.

Nope.

Not at all.

From the very beginning of time, He knew what THEY needed…what YOU needed…what HE needed.

For what?

To fulfill His plan to make MUCH of HIM through broken and needy vessels like US

My kids don’t need the mom down the street and neither do yours; they need US and we need HIM.

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40 Moms @ Chick-fil-A

So in Chick-fil-A, there are ALL kinds of moms. ALL kinds.

  1. There are the moms who utilize the Purell wipes like candy.
  2. And there are the moms who never even noticed, nor cared about that red, plastic container hangin’ on the side of the door.
  3. There are the moms who buy the “kid meals.”
  4. And then there are the moms who buy 32 nuggets and divide them evenly among their nugget lovers.
  5. There are the moms who bring the sippy cups.
  6. There are the moms who pass out 2 % milk.
  7. And then there are the moms who are dolin’ out soda-pops.
  8. There are the moms who obey the 54″ height rule for calf-play, keeping their 7th graders from hangin’ out in the tunnels.
  9. And then there are the moms who are crawlin’ through the tunnels, sportin’ their “Best Chick-fil-A Mom” pin and their small selves.
  10. There are the moms who abide by the “wear socks and take off your shoe” rule.
  11. And then there are the moms who have bare-footed littles traversing the slide…backwards.
  12. There are the moms who sit inside the super small play area and wave to their children from the tunnel above.
  13. And then there are the moms who sit outside the play area on their phones, doin’ their Jamberry nails and readin’ their books.
  14. There are the moms who allow their children to go in and out the door 57 times.
  15. And then there are the moms who police the door and all the children…and all the parents of all the children.
  16. There are the moms who sport their messy buns and black yogas.
  17. And then there are the moms who sport their skinny jeans and their Target boots with faux, white fur.
  18. There are the moms who attempt to talk on the phone in the super small play area.
  19. And then there are the moms who are makin’ friends and passin’ out cell numbers.
  20. And then, of course, there are the moms who act like there is no one sitting one inch from their hip on that small, tiny bench.
  21. There are the moms who make their kids eat before play.
  22. And then there are the moms who let their kids play during order and after eats.
  23. And then, of course, there are the moms who let their kids  carry the stray nugget through the play tunnel.
  24. There are the moms who nicely place the complimentary place mat.
  25. And then there are the moms who dumpin’ waffles fries into one, big bag in the middle.
  26. There are moms who discipline from their table, outside the glass.
  27. And then there are the moms who forgot they have kids.
  28. There are the moms who make their kids put their shoes back on before the potty trip.
  29. And then there are the moms who sanitize the feet before placing the shoes.
  30. And then, of course, there are the moms who don’t even realize that their children have already been to the bathroom…twice.
  31. There are the moms who drink copious amounts of Coke Zero.
  32. And then there are moms who poppin’ nuggets like pills.
  33. There are the moms who falsely threaten to leave in really loud voices.
  34. And then there are the moms who are enacting time-outs, time-ins, and anything in between.
  35. There are the moms who attempt to host organized birthday parties during the lunch hour.
  36. And then there are the moms who are just attempting lunch during the lunch hour.
  37. There are the moms who deep-clean the dining table with their personal, hand-held Clorox wipes.
  38. And then there are the moms who spit into the napkin and wipe the table.
  39. There are the moms who go to Chick-fil-A, eat their food, and enjoy their “my pleasure”able experience.
  40. And then there are the moms who eat their nuggets, stare, and then come home and write blogs about moms at Chick-fil-A.

But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what kinda mama you are at Chick-fil-A because you’re a mama who isn’t cooking today! 

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